ACP Compressor Station at Union Hill VA now Under Challenge by SELC

by admin on February 15, 2019

Union Hill deserves protection from noise & air pollution

Union Hill Community Challenges Virginia Air Board Decision

Press Release of Southern Environmental Law Center, Charlottesville, VA, February 8, 2019

Richmond, VA — Today the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of its client the Friends of Buckingham, challenged the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board’s decision to approve Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline Buckingham County compressor station.

“The Air Board has refused to address the disproportionate harm that our community will have to bear as a result of the construction of this polluting compressor station,” said John W. Laury of Friends of Buckingham. “The members of our community should not have our health put at risk for a project that wasn’t properly vetted for environmental justice or air quality concerns.”

The Air Board and the Department of Environmental Quality did not meet their obligations under state and federal laws to consider less polluting alternatives and the best available pollution controls for minimizing pollution from the proposed compressor station.

“The backdrop to the board’s decision about the compressor station is the mounting evidence that customers in Virginia do not need the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to meet their energy needs,” said Southern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney Greg Buppert. “When a project like this pipeline goes forward without a full and transparent evaluation of its public necessity, it unfairly puts communities like Union Hill in harm’s way.”

Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline project is already stymied because a federal court has vacated or put on hold multiple required permits for failing to comply with applicable law and federal agencies have themselves revoked other permits.


For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With more than 80 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region.


The Moral Call for Ecological Justice in Buckingham, Feb. 19th, 6 to 8 PM.

Join Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and former Vice President Al Gore for a program on “The Moral Call for Ecological Justice in Buckingham.” The public is invited to this free, educational event, where Buckingham residents and other Virginians will share stories of the impacts of environmental injustice, and scientific experts will discuss the health threats and ecological devastation of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and compressor station. As we celebrate Black History Month, we recognize how poverty, racism and ecological concerns are connected, and that we cannot address just one without addressing the others.

Rev. Dr. Barber is President of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Former Vice President Gore is the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a non-profit devoted to solving the climate crisis.

Please note: We encourage you to RSVP for this event, but you will not need your ticket to get in. Please share and bring others!

Date And Time: Tue, February 19, 2019, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

Location: Buckingham Middle School, 1184 High School Road, Buckingham, VA 23921

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Duane Nichols February 20, 2019 at 1:18 pm

Al Gore Meets With Residents Fighting Gas Pipeline Station — >>> Former Vice President Al Gore has urged residents of a historic African-American community in Virginia to continue their fight against a plan to build a natural gas pipeline compressor station in their community.

By DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press (US News), February 20, 2019

UNION HILL, Va. (AP) — Former Vice President Al Gore urged residents of a historic African-American community in Virginia on Tuesday to continue their fight against a plan to build a natural gas pipeline compressor station in their neighborhood.

Gore and social justice advocate the Rev. William Barber II met with residents of Union Hill, a rural community about 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Richmond that was founded by emancipated slaves after the Civil War.

The visit by Gore and Barber — part of an environmental justice tour — came weeks after a racial scandal rocked state government when both Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring acknowledged wearing blackface in the 1980s.

Gore told residents that the proposal to build the compressor station in the African-American community is a “vivid example of environmental racism.” “This proposed pipeline is a reckless, racist rip-off,” Gore said.

He said Northam should fulfill his promise for racial reconciliation by opposing the pipeline project. “This is an ideal opportunity for him to say, ‘I’ve seen the light,’” Gore said.

During a raucous meeting before more than 700 people at Buckingham Middle School, Barber said Dominion Energy — the lead developer of the pipeline — is “practicing sin” by proposing to build the compressor station in Union Hill. “I want to say tonight that any governor or legislator, Democrat or Republican … that has chosen Dominion over this community is scandalous,” Barber said.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run 600 miles (965 kilometers) and carry fracked natural gas from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina.

Opponents are concerned that exhaust from the 54,000-horsepower compressor station would hurt low-income and elderly residents living in Union Hill. Supporters say it will boost development. Compressor stations are used to power interstate natural gas pipelines, moving gas through the system.

Dominion Energy, Virginia’s most powerful corporation, has said it chose Union Hill for the compressor station because the community had enough land for sale and it intersects with an existing pipeline. The company has also said that most air emissions at the station will be 50 to 80 percent lower than at any other compressor station in Virginia.

With a current price tag of more than $7 billion, the pipeline has recently suffered significant legal setbacks, including a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling throwing out a permit for the pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail. Dominion has suspended all project construction and said it plans to appeal the ruling.

Northam angered environmentalists and minority groups when he replaced two members of the state’s Air Pollution Control Board who had raised questions about the project after the board delayed a scheduled vote in November.

Northam, a Democrat, said the move was unrelated to the compressor station vote and that members were replaced because their terms had expired. Gore called the move to replace the members “grotesque.” “This was a favor for Dominion,” he said.

Gore, the founder of The Climate Reality Project, shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his campaign to protect the environment.

Some residents of Union Hill, while not in favor of the project, have come to accept it. Dominion has offered to give more than $5 million to help improve Union Hill.

Michelle Ford, a 47-year-old trainer and instructor for the state Department of Corrections who has lived in Union Hill her whole life, said she is not happy about the compressor station but she can see some economic benefits from the project, including job opportunities in the rural area.

“Nobody is saying, ‘Yes, we want it, hooray.’ What we’re saying is, ‘If it is going to come, what can Dominion do for the Union Hill community?’” Ford said.


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